Zucchini is an incredibly versatile vegetable, and its mild, slightly sweet flavor lends itself to a variety of preparations.
Whether you’re looking for a light accompaniment to a hearty main course or a nutritious option to balance a lighter meal, zucchini has something for everyone.
In this guide, we’ll explore a range of delicious zucchini side dishes – there’s something for every palate and for any occasion.
Quick And Easy Dishes
Let’s start our list with some easy side dishes that take almost no time at all to create:
Zucchini noodles, commonly referred to as “zoodles,” have gained immense popularity as a low-carb, gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta.
Spiralizing the zucchini creates noodle-like strands that can absorb flavors well.
Toss them in a pan with garlic, olive oil, and your choice of herbs for a quick and easy side.
They are ideal for those on ketogenic or gluten-free diets and make a great side for grilled meats.
Nothing screams summer like grilled vegetables and zucchini’s subtle sweetness becomes more pronounced when grilled.
Marinate the slices in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs like thyme or oregano. Grill each side for about 4 minutes or until grill marks appear.
This dish is not only quick but also healthy and pairs beautifully with grilled fish or chicken.
Thinly sliced zucchini ribbons are quickly sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and herbs.
The result is a light, buttery, and elegant side dish that is as visually appealing as it is tasty.
This quick dish features zucchini and corn kernels sautéed with garlic and red onion. Adding bacon to the dish makes it a lot more substantial, and you can flavor it with your choice of herbs, like basil or parsley.
It’s a summery, sweet-and-savory combo that pairs well with virtually any main dish – we think it’s great for barbecues.
Offering the familiar shape and texture of regular fries but with fewer calories and a unique flavor, zucchini fries are a hit with both kids and adults.
You can bake or air-fry them for a lighter touch, and they pair exceptionally well with a variety of dipping sauces.
This is a fast and straightforward dish that embodies the essence of summer produce.
Sautéing the zucchini and tomatoes in olive oil with a bit of garlic and herbs lets the natural flavors shine.
The vibrant colors also make for a visually appealing side dish that pairs well with a variety of main courses.
Zucchini is a low-calorie option, but if you’re on a diet, you may be mindful of how you cook this veg or what you serve it with – we’ve included some ideas below:
This is a unique and elegant way to serve zucchini, especially when you’re looking for a lighter side dish.
The zucchini is thinly sliced and then seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese provides a sharp contrast to the zucchini’s mild flavor.
This dish is high in flavor but low in calories.
Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, create thin ribbons of zucchini. Toss these with a light vinaigrette made of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and fresh mint ( you could also use basil).
Add some feta, and you have a delicious side salad.
This salad is not only visually stunning but also extremely low in calories while still being flavorful.
Now, moving on to some real crowd-pleasing zucchini side dishes that will leave your guests wanting more:
While perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of side dishes, zucchini bread can serve as a unique and comforting option.
This sweet, moist bread uses grated zucchini, which provides an intriguing texture and a mild, vegetal flavor that complements the sweetness of the bread.
It pairs exceptionally well with spicy or rich meat dishes – or you can serve it with soup.
Cut zucchini into sticks, coat them in parmesan and breadcrumbs, and bake.
It’s a healthier alternative to french fries or mozzarella dippers, and it’s equally as addictive.
Zucchini fritters are a crowd-pleaser and great for large gatherings.
Grated zucchini is mixed with a batter of flour, eggs, and spices, then spooned into hot oil and fried until golden and crispy.
They can be served with a variety of dipping sauces, from a simple yogurt-based dip to something spicier like a Sriracha mayo.
These offer a delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Hollowed-out zucchini halves serve as “boats” that can be filled with a variety of ingredients like spiced meat, grains, and cheese.
We love the addition of mince and Italian sausage in this particular recipe.
Once baked, they make for an attractive and savory side dish that’s sure to please a crowd.
13. Zucchini Tots
Think tater tots, but healthier and just as tasty.
These little gems are made with grated zucchini, onion, cheese, and breadcrumbs and then baked until golden.
They’re a hit with both adults and kids and make for a playful, snackable side.
To bring a little spice and variety to your zucchini side, take a look at the below recipes:
Inspired by the rich, aromatic flavors of Moroccan cuisine, this dish features zucchini coins covered in parmesan, sautéed in olive oil, and flavored with garlic.
The parmesan and garlic blend impart a warm, earthy flavor to the zucchini, making it a perfect side for dishes like lamb tagine or grilled fish.
You can also add your favorite herbs to the mix for extra flavor.
Spiced with cumin, paprika, garlic, and parsley, this cold salad introduces North African flavors to your table.
For extra spice, add some cayenne pepper.
This Asian-inspired dish pairs perfectly with fish or grilled meats.
The zucchini is sautéed with sesame oil, ginger, and a touch of soy sauce, delivering a burst of umami flavor.
If you’re looking for a zucchini side dish that is going to elevate the whole meal, we’ve got you covered:
17. Zucchini Flan
This is a gourmet side dish perfect for impressing guests.
Zucchini is first grated and then mixed with eggs and milk or half-and-half, along with cheese, herbs like thyme and basil, and a dash of nutmeg.
The mixture is poured into ramekins and baked until set. The result is a creamy, luxurious flan that has a delicate zucchini flavor. It’s a sophisticated option that pairs well with a variety of upscale mains.
This rustic yet elegant dish is essentially a free-form tart filled with sliced zucchini and corn kernels.
The crust is buttery and flaky, offering a rich counterpoint to the tender, sweet filling.
Fresh herbs like thyme or basil can be added to your taste for an aromatic element.
This galette is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat, making it perfect for special occasions.
Tips For Cooking With Zucchini
Always choose zucchinis that are firm and free from any soft spots or blemishes.
Zucchini has a high water content, so be mindful of this when cooking, as it can quickly become mushy.
Zucchini skin is rich in nutrients and also adds color to your dishes, so there’s no need to peel it.
You may also like: Spaghetti squash side dishes.
Zucchini proves to be a true culinary chameleon, fitting into casual weekday dinners, formal gatherings, and every meal in between.
With its wide range of preparations, it’s a vegetable you’ll never tire of.
Which recipe will you choose as your next side?
Hungry for more? How about some eggplant sides to whet your appetite?
Frequently Asked Questions
Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that pairs well with a variety of proteins, including chicken, beef, and fish.
It also complements other vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers, and it can be flavored with a wide range of herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano, and garlic.
To prevent zucchini from becoming soggy, you can salt it first to draw out moisture. After letting it sit for a few minutes, pat it dry with paper towels.
Cooking at high heat for a short period of time, whether grilling, roasting, or sautéing, also helps retain its texture.
Peeling zucchini is generally not necessary as the skin is tender and rich in nutrients. The skin also adds color and texture to dishes.
However, if you prefer, you can peel it for recipes that require a softer texture.
The best way to eat zucchini depends on personal preference. It can be eaten raw in salads or as zucchini noodles, grilled for a smoky flavor, baked into casseroles, or even incorporated into sweet dishes like zucchini bread. Each method offers a unique texture and flavor.
Salting zucchini before cooking helps to draw out excess moisture, resulting in a firmer texture when cooked.
This is especially useful for dishes where you want to avoid sogginess, such as fritters or sautés.
18 Incredible Zucchini Side Dishes You Can Make At HomeCourse: Other Recipes
- Choose your favorite recipe from above
- Gather your ingredients
- Prepare your dish